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The Port of Los Angeles Launches Return Signal Platform to Improve Congestion Woes


The Port of Los Angeles (LA) is the busiest seaport in the United States and in recent months it has been hit with incredible congestion issues that have nearly caused a complete supply chain catastrophe. With backlash directly related to the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic, this mega port located in southern California has attempted to rectify the situation by implementing a new online portal called Return Signal for empty container returns.

Return Signal Platform

With congestion being a major issue, in the fall of 2020, LA port directors decided to look at the biggest backlog contributors and how to eliminate them. Noting that truckers have had trouble making appointments for the return of empty containers, it was determined that to relieve some of the congestion, real time updates on where to return loads would be essential.

The Return Signal platform is an online portal that truckers can access directly. On the portal, data is updated every 5 minutes with information from 12 different marine terminals in both Ports of LA and Long Beach. Through the portal, truckers can make appointments at terminals with improved ease. With the new portal truckers will know where to drop off empty loads, which will hopefully ease some of the congestion at the overloaded terminals.

What This Means for Shippers

Traditionally, most port terminals work at the direction of their ocean carrier tenants. With surges of imports from Asia, these terminals have found themselves overwhelmed with inbound containers. In situations like these, the tenants or shippers tell terminals to lockout returns, which helps to get containers off the boats faster. However, it also results in container pile up, causing trucks the inability to drop off and claim incoming loads in a timely manner.

With the implementation of the Return Signal, shippers and truckers will have fluidity at the terminals. The hope is that digitalization will allow terminals to better prepare for incoming shipments with the correct equipment needed. In the future, LA and the surrounding southern California ports seek to smooth out inbound and outbound return loads and hope the portal will help them achieve this goal.

To stay on top of the congestion situation and to discuss any issues or concerns you have about your shipments, contact Clear Freight today.

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